Henry County resident and violinist Zoe Willingham.

Two Henry County residents are part of an elite group of classically-trained musicians that will be performing in a combined Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and Franklin Pond Chamber Music Concert on May 5 at the Woodruff Arts Center.


Henry County resident and violinist Emily Rader.

Zoe Willingham, 17, and Emily Rader, 15, have trained for years with their instrument of choice, the violin. Now, both Willingham and Rader will join 37 other students to present a diverse collection of works ranging from the traditional string quartet and piano quintet to a wind quintet and even the rare cello quartet during the “Fall into Spring” concert. Audiences will enjoy chamber works by Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Dvorak, Ravel, Prokofiev, and Rudolf Matz.

Both girls are students at Franklin Pond where they study chamber music and further hone their skills.

“What I love the most about playing chamber music is the communication between each musician and how each part, although it may be simple, comes together to make beautiful music,” said Willingham.

Although classical music may not be the most popular genre with teenagers today, both Rader and Willingham said it plays an important part of their lives.

“I think it is worthwhile to give kids more opportunities, and to expose them to more classical music. My mom is in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, so I have been listening to classical music since I was born. I know from experience that when you grow up with classical music, it stays in your life,” stated Rader.

The upcoming concert event is the product of a collaboration between two of Atlanta’s most acclaimed music education institutions. Franklin Pond brings to the table nearly 20 years of training young, gifted chamber musicians, while Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra has a 45-year history of superior orchestral training, according to officials. “We can offer our students so many opportunities by bringing together the best of both institutions,” said Lachlan McBane, Artistic Manager for Franklin Pond, “creating a wonderfully diverse assembly of students, teachers, experience levels, and performances.”

Four students from the Talent Development Program of the orchestra are playing together in a string quartet for the first time; another ensemble has been playing together for three years after first meeting at Franklin Pond’s 2015 summer intensive program. All eight chamber ensembles receive bi-monthly coachings with Franklin Pond’s premier faculty as well as master classes with world-renowned soloists in town to perform with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The culmination of their studies can be seen and heard in the spring concert event on May 5 at 6 p.m. in the Rich Auditorium of Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta. The concert is free and open to the public. Visit www.franklinpond.org or call 404-252-3479 for more information.


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